Stories And News

Beirut blast, moments of horror and fear

Hanan Karaki, a nurse at Karantina hospital, recalls the first moments that shook Beirut

08 October 2020

Recalling the first moments of the explosion evokes disturbing emotions that Hanan was hardly trying to control. She took a deep breath between one sentence and the next, yet, her hands were trembling, and so was her voice. Hanan Karaki, one of the nurses at the pediatric and neonatal care department at Beirut Governmental Hospital in Karantina, was on duty at the time of the explosion that took Beirut by the shock on August 4.

Hanan reveals, "Moments after the explosion, it took us time to grasp and realize what happened. The destruction was massive, and the smoke prevented us from seeing. We were blown away by the explosion. We started calling each other’s names," Zainab, Fatima, Nasreen, "and immediately started checking the children. I began to cry. Then, I saw my colleague on the ground covered with blood and complaining from not being able to see. While helping her to regain her balance and sight, she started screaming and saying, “go to the children, go quickly, let’s make sure they are fine”. The destruction ward was catastrophic”. 

Luckily, the incubators worked as a shield and protected the infants from the walls that had completely collapsed. The four of us carried 11 children for some time while walking for some distance. The destruction was frightening that only army trucks managed to access the hospital and help us evacuate. I did not stop crying all that time, and I still shiver from the horror of those moments. When I got to the other part of the hospital, I found it completely destroyed and the operating room door pulled out while there was an operation for a child still taking place. I believe, a divine intervention saved us and those newborns. A memory that I wish to completely erase."

Taawon launched the “Solidarity with Beirut” appeal, and contributed to the re-equipment of Beirut Governmental Hospital in Karantina, which was almost completely damaged from the Beirut explosion on the fourth of August.